The Independent National Electoral Commission in Adamawa State has dismissed a Yola High Court ruling on Thursday which restrained it from conducting a rerun of the governorship election in 40 polling units in the state.
A Yola High Court headed by Justice Abdul-Aziz Waziri had on Thursday ruled that INEC should not conduct a supplementary governorship election in the state on March 23, 2019 following a request filed by counsel to the Adamawa State chapter of the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy, Mr Mustafa Shaba, over absence of the party logo on the ballot papers used for the first round of the election which INEC declared inconclusive.
Justice Waziri had ruled that after going through two affidavits submitted in support of the motion, the request had merit.
He said, “After careful perusal of the annexure one to five of the MRDD, alongside written address of counsel urging me to grant the application, I am of the view that the application is pregnant with merit and must be granted.
“I hereby grant the following order. The defendant herein, the INEC, is restrained whether by themselves, their executives, servants, privies, representative nominees or any other person or persons from proceeding with the supplementary election in respect of Adamawa State Governorship pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”
But when contacted by one of our correspondents, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Kashim Gaidam, said the court lacked jurisdiction over the federal establishment, describing it as possible undue influence.
He said, “It is an order of a state High Court which has no jurisdiction over federal establishments. It is very surprising indeed. Could it be undue influence? Section 87 (10) of electoral law is also relevant. I am sure the commission will issue an official statement on the matter.”
After the first round of election on February 9, 2019, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Hamadu Fintiri, established a lead margin of 32,476 votes over the All Progressives Congress candidate, Jibrilla Bindow, who is seeking a second term in office.
In declaring the election inconclusive, INEC said the margin was lower than 40,998 votes that were declared invalid.